If you read what I read, you’ll know that a hot topic in parenting these days (or a few years ago) is the concept of GRIT. I first heard about grit when I was reading a book called “How Children Succeed,” by Paul Tough. I’d picked-up the book to be a good parent, as I’d already fallen into the category of “bad parent” by both getting divorced and moving overseas. I highly recommend the book, but not just for children. I recommend the book for anyone who is looking for a key components in a recipe for success.
I am an intelligent, kind, compassionate and hardworking individual. Most people around me would likely consider me successful. I hate being bored and I always have something to-do. And yet, for most of my life, I lived a safe-life. I took the easy way out. I might love adrenaline and wind rushing against my face, but I generally avoided spiritual risks. When I applied to University I could have applied to Harvard or Stanford or Duke maybe I would have been accepted, maybe I would have been rejected, but I will never know. Between my grades and my SAT scores, as a Colorado resident, I was guaranteed entry into the university of Colorado, simply by filling out an application. I didn’t even have to write an essay.
When I was 14, I quit playing the violin after 7 years, because I was not a virtuoso. I never considered the fact that a professional 2nd violin probably loves her violin just as much as a 1st violin. Nobody had ever told me that someone is always going to be better than you, so what I should do, is strive to be better than myself. Or if they did tell me this, I didn’t listen.
The point of all this, is that in trying to be a better parent, I realized that it wasn’t by child I needed to worry about, it was myself. If I want my kids to grow up with grit, if I want to cultivate a resilient spirit in my kids, I need to practice doing so myself.
According to Wikipedia grit is characterized by: “Commonly associated concepts within the field of psychology include “perseverance”, “hardiness“, “resilience“, “ambition”, “need for achievement” and “conscientiousness“. “ Educators, psychologists, biologists, physicians that work with kids around the USA have seen that despite growing up in impoverished conditions, kids that grow up with grit succeed, whereas their peers tend to fail. The same goes for rich white kids and everyone inbetween. The ability to persevere in the face of failure, to be resilient in tough situations, to maintain your ambition, to have a need to achieve, and to do this all while being conscientious. This is a recipe for success. I would add in gratitude to make it a recipe for success and happiness.
Happiness is key. Happiness is why I titled this “Cultivating a Resilient Spirit.”
A need for achievement, hardiness and conscientiousness got me through most of my life. The practice of gratitude has given me the foundation to work on perserverance, resilience, and ambition.
To be continued…
Wow. You just made me realise how much perfectionism and grit are at odds with each other. I was raised to be a perfectionist – I internalised a message that there wasn’t a point in trying if I wasn’t the best and so i don’t try. It’s something I struggle with daily. You’d think that being a perfectionist would give you more grit….how wrong that is!
My golly, you just made a life shattering distinction for me! I was raised perfectionist as well and really tend to get pissed at my kids for doing things like chores, imperfectly. More to ponder…